One Day

I know I should work to earn money so I can one day sit on my arse and listen to the birds and photograph butterflies. And see two gory kills within minutes, with two animals dying before my very eyes to satisfy the hungry needs of their predators.

So this morning:

– Forest Queen – ‘rare south of the Tugela’ –

Flies don’t even have to be buttered to be photographed:

– some diptera or other – big fly –

A drongo zapped an insect in mid-flight and a sunbird nabbed probably a spider off the mistletoe, killing them mercilessly for food in the great cycle of nature. Someone has to be sitting on his arse to witness these things.

butterfly Forest Queen
– remote camera setup – pics triggered from my cellphone –

This time I was determined to concentrate. I gazed at my cellphone fiercely for hours. Once I had to change the camera’s battery. This Forest Queen thought he could outwit outplay outlast me!? Huh! I was determined to catch him opening his wings to make sure he was a male. I was occasionally distracted. Had to make coffee, had to reply to some slights on whatsapp, had to take these photos to show the remote setup and my impressive camera (you’ve heard about okes with small willies having to compensate with big cameras, right? Well.). And once I was also – fatally – distracted by Tommy who NEEDED me to transfer cash to his eWallet.

Done. Then back to the app:

– BLIKSEM!! –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Lawn Butterfly

I always have little ‘blues’ on my lawn; small butterflies, some tiny that flit about too small, too fast and too pale for my camera to get a decent shot. They usually look little pale grey beauties.

But yesterday one was different, bigger; so I out with the camera and managed to get two fuzzy pics:

I thought ‘Hairtail;’ iNaturalist got back in seconds and said ‘Hairstreak;’ Now I’m thinking maybe one of the Sapphires? The fascinating thing about identifying creatures is . . names change! Knowledge is constantly being updated. Often the only real way to know what you’re looking at is to ask an expert, as even the most recent books are out of date to different extents. They keep up to the minute and usually instantly have a pretty good idea of what they’re looking at, taking image, location, time of year, etc into account.

I’ll update when I find out what this beauty is. And I’ll keep an eye out for a better picture.

Ah! Suncana says its Iolaus silas, the Southern Sapphire! Sun is our in-house entomologist on our Palmiet Rangers whatsapp group, and has a Palmiet project on iNaturalist, which I have now joined. She sent a better pic – Steve Woodhall’s from biodiversityexplorer.info

– tiny yellow meadow flower – while I was down there –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Bonus! Pictures from a Palmiet neighbour who’s a great photographer. Most (all?) taken right here in our valley:

– Roger Hogg photos –
– red-fronted tinker – Roger Hogg –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Lockdown Creatures

– noctuidae lawn-feeding caterpillar about 30mm long when elongated – according to our great neighbourhood entomologist ‘Sun’ –
– whip scorpion rescued by Jessie –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Lockdown Loaded – 2

– ConJunct- tivitis Dove – ConJunct- tivitis Dove –
– carpenter bee –
– which butterfly blue? –
– big thunderhead to the north of us –
– why we’re here –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Then it rained and I remembered a bit late about my duvet! I had put it out to dry in the sun! So I brought it inside – wet – and stayed inside. Mistake! I shouldn’t have! ALL the neighbours showed me what I missed – a rainbow in a sunset!

– Palmiet neighbours – tonight’s sunset pics –
Palmiet neighbours pics

~~~oo0oo~~~

Lockdown Loaded

Sundry garden fauna and flora! Not having pets helps – especially with the mongoose, I’m sure.

– Top L African Monarch?; Bottom R Blue Pansy – Brown Pansy –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Neighbours bordering the Palmiet Nature reserve (we have a road between us and the reserve) have also seen seeing some amazing sightings during lockdown:

– “shifrafred” – banded mongoose family – plus bemused dassie onlooker –
– someone’s bushbuck – nkonka –
– Roger Hogg’s White-eared Barbet nestling –
– Lellos mamba –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Umhlanga Lagoon

Tom went to visit Ziggy in Umhlanga so Jess and I had a late breakfast at Europa Cafe – poached eggs, haloumi, mushrooms, bacon, tsatsiki, all-sorts, yum! Followed by delicious hot bitter black coffee and some sitting back and sighing. And then, what the hell, a chocolate milkshake!

Then off for a stroll at the lagoon in the Umhlanga Nature Reserve, a KZN Wildlife park.

A few birds – Diederik Cuckoo, Southern Masked Weaver, Bronze Mannikin, Familiar Chat, Olive Sunbird – but it was midday. I heard the cluck – cluck – cluckcluckcluck of a Little Rush Warbler while I was photographing a butterfly, so I switched to video:

– I’m guessing female White-Barred Acraea – Hyalites encedon encedon? –

~~~oo0oo~~~

Umhlanga Rocks is in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa; Umhlanga means reeds

Election Day

Twenty five years ago we stood in this same queue at the same school with Mrs Kiza Cele and voted for freedom from the Nats. Close to River Drive, we walked there that day.

Kiza a couple years later, with Jess

It was a joyous day. Some of the joy has faded, but then age always brings a fading. After voting I took some pics in the garden at 10 Elston. We’ve been here thirteen years now, catching up with the fifteen years we spent at River Drive.

A Wasp, a Dragonfly, a Butterfly, a Carpenter Bee and a Cycad

Lone Ranger in Intensive Care

We packed breakfast and lunch and snacks and left for Mfolosi Game Reserve at 6am this morning; Jess, Azo and me. ETA around 8.30. Tom elected to chill at home.

Instead, by 8am we were back home, with the sad and sick Ford Ranger on the back of Ritesh’s yellow ‘flatbed’ or ‘rollback’ AA tow truck. Dammit. The gears gave a death rattle and the engine died. May be terminal.

ignominy

Tom was still sleeping. We ate some snacks, I took butterfly pics in the garden and now its bucketing down with rain. The End.

Kaput Ranger in the rain
Butterfly garden

Later: Terminal, schmerminal. ‘Twas nothing. The verdict was only the engine, the gearbox and the propshaft. Nothing that R25k couldn’t fix. Got it back ten days later – all good. Purring; Nicely run in at 272 000km.

While it was indisposed I drove a little blue Nissan Micra. Very nice.

Creature Comfort

Home Creatures –

He was dead:

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He was found in Jessie’s room:

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On the deck; On the scullery sink:

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On the patio. Jess said “Dad what’s that?” as we got home late one night (brown water snake):

Little Common Brown Water Snake (on 600mm tile)

Away creatures – All at Nambiti game reserve near Ladysmith:

Nambiti (60).jpg